Silicone Strips for Scar Management after Plastic Surgery

How Effective Are Silicone Strips to Reduce Scars?

  • Interested in getting plastic surgery?
  • Concerned about the aspect of the scars after surgery?
  • Looking for methods to reduce scars after surgery?

An inevitable consequence of undergoing surgery is scarring. While some scars may fade and become barely noticeable over time, others can be raised, discoloured or unsightly. Scar management is the process of minimising the appearance and impact of scars after plastic surgery. Proper scar management techniques can significantly improve the healing process and final appearance of surgical scars. One ground-breaking innovation in scar management is the use of silicone strips, which have been proven to be highly effective in reducing the appearance of scars. In this blog, we will discuss how silicone strips work, their benefits, how to use them, and how they compare to other scar reduction methods.

Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Michael Kernohan is dedicated to helping his patients achieve optimal results after undergoing plastic surgery. Dr Kernohan guides his patients throughout the healing process to ensure a smooth recovery.

Silicone Strips and Scar Reduction

Silicone strips have emerged as a popular and clinically supported method of scar reduction. But how do they work, and what makes them so effective? The answer lies in the unique properties of silicone and the way it interacts with your skin during the healing process.

Silicone strips provide a protective barrier over the scar, which helps maintain a moist environment conducive to healing. This hydration allows cells to regenerate more effectively and leads to a smoother, flatter scar. Silicone strips exert gentle pressure on the scar, which helps to break down excess collagen production that can lead to raised and hypertrophic scars.

Silicone strips have been shown to improve the skin’s elasticity and reduce redness and discolouration associated with scarring. This is due to the ability of silicone to regulate fibroblast activity, which plays a crucial role in collagen production and scar formation. The result is a more aesthetically pleasing scar that blends better with the surrounding skin.

Benefits of Using Silicone Strips for Scar Management

There are several advantages to using silicone strips for scar management, including:

  1. Clinically proven effectiveness: Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of silicone strips in reducing the appearance of scars. Patients who use silicone strips consistently experience improved scar healing, with flatter, smoother, and less conspicuous scars
  2. Easy to use: Silicone strips are simple to apply and remove, making them a user-friendly option for scar management. They can be cut to size to fit the specific shape and location of your scar, ensuring optimal coverage and effectiveness
  3. Comfortable and discreet: Silicone strips are thin, flexible, and breathable, allowing you to wear them comfortably throughout the day. They are also transparent or skin-toned, making them discreet and unnoticeable under clothing
  4. Reusable and cost-effective: High-quality silicone strips can be washed and reused multiple times, making them a cost-effective solution

How to Minimise Scars after Surgery with Silicone Strips

To get the best results from silicone strips, it’s essential to follow a few key steps:

  • Wait for the incision to heal: Silicone strips should only be applied once the surgical incision has fully closed and any stitches or staples have been removed. Applying silicone strips too early can interfere with the healing process and increase the risk of infection
  • Clean and dry the scar area: Before applying the silicone strip, gently clean and dry the skin around the scar. This ensures proper adhesion and reduces the risk of irritation
  • Apply the silicone strip: Cut the silicone strip to size, making sure it covers the entire length and width of the scar. Gently press the adhesive side of the strip onto the scar, ensuring it adheres smoothly and evenly
  • Wear the silicone strip consistently: For optimal results, wear the silicone strip for at least 12 hours per day, preferably overnight. Be sure to remove the strip and clean the area daily to maintain proper hygiene
  • Replace the silicone strip as needed: Depending on the brand and quality of the silicone strip, you may need to replace it every 2-4 weeks or when it begins to lose its adhesion

How to Properly Use Silicone Strips

To optimise the benefits of silicone strips, it’s important to use them correctly and consistently. Begin by cleaning the scar and surrounding skin with mild soap and water, and pat dry. Cut the silicone strip to fit the size and shape of the scar, making sure it extends slightly beyond the scar’s edges.

Peel the backing off the silicone strip and apply the adhesive side directly to the scar, ensuring full contact and a smooth application. Press down firmly to eliminate any air bubbles and secure the strip in place. You may need to use medical tape or a bandage to keep the strip in place, especially if it’s in a high-movement area.

Wear the silicone strip for a minimum of 12 hours per day. You can gradually increase the duration as tolerated. Remove the strip daily to clean the scar area and allow the skin to breathe. Wash the silicone strip with soap and water. Allow it to air dry before reapplying. Replace the strip when it no longer adheres well or appears worn out.

Silicone Strips vs. Other Scar Reduction Methods

While silicone strips are a popular and effective option for scar management, other methods are available as well, such as:

  • Topical treatments: Creams, gels, and ointments containing ingredients like silicone, hydroquinone, and corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation, discolouration, and collagen build up in scars
  • Compression garments: Specially designed garments that apply consistent pressure to the scar can help reduce collagen production and improve the scar’s appearance
  • Steroid injections: Injections of corticosteroids into the scar can help reduce inflammation, collagen build up, and overall scar thickness
  • Laser therapy: Laser treatments can help break down excess collagen and stimulate cell regeneration for a smoother, flatter scar

When compared to these methods, silicone strips offer several advantages, including ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and proven results. However, the best approach to scar management will depend on the patient and the specific scar being treated. It’s essential to consult with your plastic surgeon to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your needs.

Where to Find and Purchase Silicone Strips for Scar Management

Silicone strips are widely available and can be purchased at pharmacies, medical supply stores, and online retailers. When selecting silicone strips, look for high-quality, medical-grade products that are hypoallergenic and free of irritants.

It’s also important to read product reviews and consult with your plastic surgeon for recommendations tailored to your specific needs and skin type. Remember that using silicone strips consistently and correctly is key to achieving the best possible results.

Tips to Reduce Scars after Plastic Surgery

In addition to using silicone strips, there are several other steps you can take to reduce the visibility of scars:

  • Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions: Your plastic surgeon knows best what is recommended for your particular case. Make sure to ask their advice before using any products on your surgical wounds
  • Protect your scar from the sun: Ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause pigmentation changes and slow the healing process. Keep your scar covered with clothing or use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Keeping a balanced diet and choosing foods that are rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals can contribute to optimal healing and scar reduction
  • Massage your scar: Your plastic surgeon might recommend gentle scar massage to improve the aspect of your scars after getting plastic surgery
  • Be patient: You should keep in mind that scar formation and healing is a gradual process that can take months or years to resolve

Silicone strips represent an advancement in scar management, offering an effective, easy-to-use, and cost-effective solution for minimising the appearance of plastic surgery scars. By understanding how silicone strips work, following proper application and usage techniques, and incorporating additional scar healing strategies, you may be able to improve the appearance of your scars.

FAQs about Silicone Strips and Scar Reduction

Do silicone scar sheets work on scar tissue?

  • Yes, silicone scar sheets can be very effective in treating scar tissue. They are designed to help manage and reduce the appearance of scars by hydrating the skin, reducing redness, and flattening raised scars. They are often recommended for use on hypertrophic scars and keloids, and there’s scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness in improving the appearance of such scars.

What are the disadvantages of silicone scar sheets?

  • While silicone scar sheets are generally safe and well-tolerated, they do come with a few potential disadvantages. Some users might find them inconvenient or uncomfortable to wear, especially for scars located in highly visible or flexible areas of the body. Others may experience skin irritation, redness, or rashes due to a sensitivity to the silicone material or the adhesive used in the sheets. Keep in mind that these sheets need to be worn for several hours a day for a few months for best results, which requires consistent commitment.

Is it too late to use silicone on scar?

  • The timing of silicone scar sheet use can affect its efficacy, but it is generally never too late to start using them. While the best results are often seen when treatment begins shortly after wound closure or the formation of a scar, established scars can also show improvement. However, older scars may take longer to respond and improvements might not be as visible as with newer scars.

How long does it take for silicone strips to work on scars?

  • The timeframe for seeing results from silicone scar strips can vary widely depending on factors like the age, size, and type of the scar. In general, some improvement can be noticed within a few weeks of consistent use, but for noticeable changes in scar appearance, it usually takes at least two to three months. For larger or older scars, a treatment period of six months to a year might be necessary.

Which is more effective scar gel or silicone sheets?

  • Both silicone sheets and silicone gels can be effective for scar management, and the choice between the two often comes down to personal preference and practicality. Silicone sheets may provide a more constant and concentrated application of silicone, which some find more effective. On the other hand, gels can be easier to apply, especially on contoured body areas or the face, and they are less visible, which some users prefer for cosmetic reasons. The important factor is consistent use, as both products have been shown to be effective when used as directed.

Further Reading about Plastic Surgery Procedures with Dr Kernohan

Medical References about Silicone Strips and Scar Reduction